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The security of your medical information has never been more important than it is today. The creation of secure electronic data transfer on a wide scale is undeniable, but many Americans still have their personal information stored within the paper filing systems of their doctor’s offices in numerous different locations.

Currently, this health care information is shared between medical providers through physical means such as fax, mail, or direct transfer to a different office on behalf of the actual patient. All patients in the medical system have the right to have comprehensive and accurate records that their medical providers can rely on at all times. Fortunately, health information exchange has made it possible for each individual patient’s previous and current medical history to be completely accessible by whatever healthcare professionals they want to see via a shared and secure digital network.

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What Exactly Is HIE?

Electronic health information exchange (HIE) is the electronic communication of health-related data between medical institutions, clinicians, and patients. This secure transmission of sensitive medical information is carried out entirely electronically between ONLY approved entities. This reduces total costs, increases patient care speed, safety, quality, and coordination. Below is just a quick snapshot of the numerous benefits associated with this premium data transfer system:

  • Circumvent issues associated with patient readmissions.
  • Improve the overall patient experience, care, and diagnoses opportunities.
  • Lower the rate of duplicate tests conducted on any one patient.
  • Sidestep complications associated with an incorrect medication prescription.

If you’re currently on the fence about incorporating this electronic transfer system into your business model, ponder the external benefits associated with this resource aside from just the ease of information. The standardization of this direct data transfer allows you to instantly input patient information into the Electronic Health Record (EHR) of the organization on the receiving end.

The Top Three Types of Health Information Exchange

There are three distinct types of this electronic system that are now known to be used by approved entities in order for it to function successfully.

Directed Exchange.

This secure method is used by numerous health care providers to directly transfer the medical information of each patient to ensure the use of coordinated care. This can include patient referrals, lab results and orders, immunization data, or even discharge summaries. The encrypted form of this extremely sensitive information is sent and received through the internet between trusted providers.

Query-Based Exchange

The trusted organizations with access to these records are able to find and/or request additional information about specific patients from other healthcare providers. This is a great way for any provider to gain knowledge on a new patient who has come to them in search of quality care. Physicians who work in the Emergency Room can truly benefit from this kind of access and reduction of administrative tasks when they must give time-sensitive care.

Consumer-Mediated Exchange.

Consumer-Mediated Exchange allows patients to take back control of their personal medical information. They can easily manage their own health care by gaining access to their information online. If they see any notes that are not correct within their file, they are able to make the necessary changes to the information quickly and efficiently.

These specified classifications exist to ensure every organization is able to utilize the health information exchange to the full extent of their needs and desires. Improving patient care is the goal and every provider now has the digital means to make this a reality through the HIE.

Understanding the Different Architectures.

Within the health information exchange, data is stored using three different architectural methods. These include centralized, decentralized, and hybrid.


The health information that is collected by and from the authorized organizations within the HIE network is stored in one database. This means all the important patient information can be found in one particular repository.


Each class of health records is stored in its own independent database. The healthcare providers who are part of this electronic transferring system have complete ownership and control over how this information is shared.


This is a combination of both centralized and decentralized architectures. Some healthcare organizations prefer to use a combination of both.

Through this push and pull exchange, all the necessary patient information is received by the proper organization. This seamless electronic transfer could truly make all the difference in the value of care any given patient is able to receive.

HIPAA Compliance: The Secure Exchange.

The security of the health information exchange rests in the fact that all the HIEs must comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states this rule delivers a baseline of individual privacy requirements on a federal level that is to be adhered to in every single state. Each individual state is able to apply and enforce additional state laws that allow for a higher level of patient privacy protection.

Additionally, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act has stated this electronic transfer must only occur in a connected manner that strives to improve the quality of patient healthcare. The extension of a business associate status to the HIEs also allows for the expansion of federal baseline protections. Given all the current measures put in place, this patient-centric electronic exchange exists to improve the overall patient experience.

Integrate the Best Solution Into Your Practice Today.

The health information exchange (HIE) has transformed into an incredibly streamlined digital process that gives healthcare providers and their patient’s peace of mind when it comes to the transferring of sensitive medical information. This has even become a source to contact The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with quality measure reports.

A convenient system like this forges a path for healthcare providers to truly improve every service they give to their clients. A single appointment can make all the difference.

Contact us today so we can help you give your patients the quality medical care they deserve!